The Chicago Bears released former All-Pro safety Chris Harris today, which he confirmed via Twitter. Harris had a rough start to this season after being an All-Pro last season, suffering a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the first three games. His performance since hasn’t been spectacular, and apparently bad enough to force his release. The Bears tried to trade him before the deadline but there were no takers, perhaps sensing that he would be released.
If he clears waivers, he will be a free agent. The Pats have had issues in the secondary, namely at safety opposite Patrick Chung. Should the team scoop him up?
Last season, Harris had 70 combined tackles, 7 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions. Clearly, he has some talent. The questions surrounding Harris at this point are whether he is fully recovered from his hamstring injury and if he can regain some of that All-Pro form from last season. The Patriots’ secondary has settled down some, but it’s unclear whether it’s improvement in the players or the fact that they faced mostly run-heavy teams. James Ihedigbo has done well stepping in as a starter, but Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown have struggled when they have been in that role.
At the least, Harris should be brought in for an evaluation and be considered for depth at the position. Barrett has missed two games with a thumb injury and was limited in practice yesterday. The questions the Pats need to ask themselves is this: Is Chris Harris worse than what we already have on the roster? Can Chris Harris improve the depth on the team? In my view, the answer to the first question is “no,” and the answer to the second question is “yes.” With the coaching staff on the Patriots, they should be able to right Harris’ ship, and could add a pivotal piece to their defense heading into the second half of the season.